Monday, October 31, 2011

Mama's Birthday

Mama had a "big" birthday this year... And we celebrated twice. The first little party was a joint one with another PC wife whose birthday is the day before. It was great fun to cook out and enjoy fellowship with all of our new friends.

The second one was a little more intimate with our dear Hoffmans and Manasi, a neighbor whose birthday is also on the 31st. We enjoyed a little tea and carrot cake (Mama's favorite!).

Friday, October 28, 2011

Colonial Market Day

Whilst searching for some places for our weekly outings, Mama came across the Claude Moore Colonial Farm, a living history site reenacting the earlier colonial era. Each season the Farms hosts a special event for visitors, and this October was their Colonial Market Day. However though the Market Day was penciled into the schedule, a curious virus was not.

Saturday morning came, and we deliberated. Finally it was decided that those healthy enough would attend. So Jane Ellen, Gracie, Emmy Xiang, and Mom drove southwards to the beautiful Virginia and the Market Day.

We began our visit with a self-guided tour of the farm. First we came to the tobacco shed. Autumn is an interesting season to visit a colonial farm, for in place of all the areas marked "tobacco" or "wheat" or "rye" were fenced off fields of grass and wildflowers. All the crops were hanging in the tobacco shed or in the house to be used for the coming winter.

And then we came to the house. We loved walking around and through it. Actually, it quite reminded us of our playhouses back home when we used to "prepare" for winter, harvesting crops, gathering firewood, and drying meat (or in our case, pieces of bark...).

Of course, no farm would be complete without a few animals. Amongst many others were some pigs...

... and some sheep.

After the farm tour, we came to the market area. Here we found numerous vendors had set up shop and were making and/or selling their wares. This potter was most impressive. As he carefully and diligently formed a beautiful pitcher out of a mound of clay, we marveled at how our heavenly Potter forms and shapes each one of us so delicately, so intricately, so uniquely. Mama aptly hoped that this man had an apprentice, for what an incredible craft he knows!

Many ladies had shops brimming with clothes and jewels, soaps and perfumes, dishes and toys. But our favorite lady-shopkeeper was this one. She would, in less than ten minutes, cut silhouettes from black paper freehand. Nothing but the paper, some scissors, and a lot of talent!

A definite highlight of the market was the food that roast over a lovely fire. Filling the air with tempting aromas, the chickens on the king of all spits and the sausages in the largest of cast iron pans roasted to delicious perfection. We splurged and got a few bites -- they were heavenly!

Though Katie was unable to enjoy the atmosphere with us, she was there in spirit, for Mama succeeded in taking a "Katie picture," nice and artsy. :)

We had such a lovely time and are now eagerly anticipating the spring event at the fair. Hopefully no ailment but spring fever will plague us next time!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Festivities and Friends

We've enjoyed celebrating two birthdays recently with our new dear friends from the Pastors College. These families are in our fellowship group and we are loving getting to know them better. May the Lord continue to bless and grow these relationships!

Homeschool Happenings

The girls recently enjoyed a science experiment in which they made models of cells with jello (cytoplasm) and various candies (which represented different organelles). I think their favorite part was eating it afterwards. :)
This little praying mantis showed up on the back deck a few days a go, so we snapped a few pictures and Emmy Xiang has enjoyed drawing him for nature study this week.
She loves doing her school. That's for sure.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday morning in Washington, DC

We enjoyed a lovely outing this morning with our host family, the Hoffmans, to see the monuments and war memorials in Washington, DC. It was a picturesque fall day, perfect for piddling around DC on our bikes, and we were out and back in time for church, although we went a little more casual (and wind-blown) than usual! Whew :)
Our first stop was Iwo Jima. We arrived as the sun was rising and it made for a lovely silhouette of the memorial, the Capitol and the Washington Monument.
Lincoln Memorial
JoJo, Mama and Dad

The White House
World War II Memorial
MaryLynn, Susuanna and Katie
We thought of our Aunt Lee who was running the Army 10-miler while we were in DC this morning. Even though we didn't see you in the crowds, we were cheering you on, Aunt Lee!
MaryLynn, Mama (or "Aunt Tammy" as MaryLynn has taken to calling her ;) and "Aunt Ellen"
Mama and Emmy Xiang
The Parental Unit :)

Gracie and Jane Ellen were unable to make it for various reasons, so we look forward to repeating the fun soon with them, too. It was a morning worth remembering!

Sarah's Visit

We got 134 books at The Book Thing, a free bookstore in Baltimore. Be jealous, bibliophiles. It was awesome. :)

We celebrated a first birthday with a quiet Sunday afternoon party.

We came, we saw, we thrifted. And scored! Apparently Maryland is the place to buy pottery and long jeans. 

We canned applesauce and apple butter.

We cooked delicious, "gourmet" meals. (Don't tell anyone about the hot dogs, Sarah...)

We watched Cranford at night and sipped chai lattes that give Starbucks a run for their money.

And now we miss Sarah dreadfully! Thanks for the awesome visit -- come back soon!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Of Day Care and DayCare

Saturday was a very eventful day, indeed. That morning from 9:00 to 1:00, all the PC students and their wives attended a class on biblical fellowship. Meanwhile, Jane Ellen, Katie, and Gracie, along with Gabby, Christene, MaryLynn, Susanna, and Mrs. H, undertook the care of four infants, five boys aged three to six, and six girls aged three to nine. The children and attendants alike had great fun playing and eating and (for the babies) sleeping.

That afternoon, Mama, Jane Ellen, and Gracie rushed to tidy up and then drive over to Baltimore to pick up a dear friend from Niceville, Sarah. Just as they headed out the door, they noticed a package on the doorstep from the Days.

And what a sweet package it was, filled with sweet notes and goodies from our darling church back home.

Just in time for fall, they sent a delicious candle, a cheery pumpkin, and a scarecrow basket that now houses all the letters they wrote to us.

It was a lovely surprise, and a perfect start to a wonderful weekend. We like DayCare! Thank y'all so much! It meant a lot. :) We miss you!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Apple Picking!

Last Friday a few of the PC families took a field trip to Butler's Orchard to pick some apples and enjoy the fall atmosphere!

Though rain had been the norm for weeks before, Friday arrived cool and sunshine-y. It was a perfect day for picking!

Eventually the girls decided that climbing the trees would be more fun.

Meanwhile, some of us scoured the low (read: very low) branches for treasure.

In the end, we left with quite a lot of pretty expensive apples -- but I guess the extra we paid was all for the distinctly non-Floridian experience!

By the way, meet the extra girls in the gang, our dear host family's daughters at home. This is Susanna (also known as Suzie), and this is an accurate portrayal of her personality. Hysterical. We love her! :)

An this is MaryLynn, Suzie's older sister, Gracie's schoolfellow. They do all the boring stuff together, in an effort to make it more appealing. Who knows if it's working. For the record, we love her, too! :)